Kenmore Theatre

2101 Church Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11226

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Showing 26 - 50 of 65 comments

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on February 27, 2006 at 10:41 pm

Sorry for the delay on this, br. When I left NY, little work had been done that could damage the Kenmore interior aside from that associated with the thankfully rather cheap quading efforts. The chandelier was intact and most auditorium features were worn but otherwise untouched. The lobby mirror wall was intact and the balcony level trimings were still impressive aside from the occassional bullet hole. Aside from some the corridor dry wall coverings (a Cineplex Odeon norm here and at the Met) which allowed elements behind to remain, the place was quite delicately refurbished. The upstairs lobby ceilings were worn though beautifully intricate but the bathrooms were all beat to death. A massive (and scary) basement and backstage area remained with some dressing rooms. The coal furnace was still being fed by human hands and serviced by a coal shoot from the sidewalk.

I am not sure what damage has been done since, but I can assure you Cineplex Odeon did little harm. For all their faux marble crimes in Manhattan, their Brooklyn conversions were generally reseating and cleaning if only for cost reasons.

BobFurmanek on February 23, 2006 at 7:28 am

To promote his new film “The Ladies Man,” Jerry Lewis appeared on stage at this theater on July 13, 1961.

Bway on October 20, 2005 at 3:09 am

Here’s a photo of the Kenmore in the 50’s…Marilyn Monroe on the Marquee:

uncleal923 on October 12, 2005 at 2:12 pm

Other than the marquis, is there any sign of the theater? I mean is there anything in that Modell’s that hints there was a movie house there?

RobertR on October 12, 2005 at 11:40 am

“Oceans 11” played here on the RKO neighborhood run in 1960.
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br91975 on July 8, 2005 at 11:36 am

Thank you from me as well, Warren, for that photograph. I know you probably won’t respond to this compliment, but I’m sure I don’t speak alone in stating you’re one of the most valued contributors to this site.

From those who attended the Kenmore in the ‘80s (such as yourself, Al) and the '90s, how many of its original architectural elements remained, post-multiplexing and after becoming a Cineplex Odeon property and do any still exist in its current incarnation as a Modell’s Sporting Goods store? I thought I read it had been, at best, mostly gutted, but would be grateful for some confirmation.

RobertR on July 8, 2005 at 10:47 am

Hard to believe “Hamlet” once played here.
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Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on July 8, 2005 at 10:22 am

Thanks Warren.

Your photo has thrown me into time travel mode like no sci-fi movie ever could. Having “dealt” with Kenmore for many years in the nasty eighties I knew it had a grand past but one single image and the eighties are now gone. This one familiar, yet foreign, image means all the world to me. Thank you and Cinema Treasures for bringing this bullet holed crackhouse back to life. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

jays on July 8, 2005 at 10:02 am

Thanks Warren for that photo in my lifetime i’ve never experienced this theatre as a single screen.

jays on July 8, 2005 at 10:02 am

Thanks Warren for that photo in my lifetime i’ve never experienced this theatre as a single screen.

uncleal923 on June 20, 2005 at 2:50 pm

That was a nice theater, I recall sitting in the balcony with kids from my school and watching ‘Finian’s Rainbow’. I guess I should be thankful I left Brooklyn in the middle 70s insofar as movie houses. I would not want to see those things multiplexed.

Theaterat on June 18, 2005 at 5:18 am

Gustavelifting… The Kenmore was a very nice theater until the mid 70s. I only went there a half dozen times and remember it somewhat well. Glad I never went there after it was `plexed. I did not need to risk my life to see a movie!

uncleal923 on June 16, 2005 at 1:36 pm

It was a single screen theater at first, which was great. It was multiplexed, which I am glad I did not see. Then finally, the worst, it became a Modells Sporting Goods Store. The Kenmore was great.

Theaterat on June 16, 2005 at 5:22 am

Its a shame that so-called humans can wreak so much terror in a place that is supposed to be “fun” to go to.I really can`t believe the razor and barbed wire at the concession stand and lobby, but I have to believe it really was there. If the Kings ever reopens(And I hope it does} I pray the same events will not take place there.We have come a long way from the innocence of laughing at the matron and throwing Milk Duds to outright murder and shootings, and it is a pathetic state of affairs.

bigdanelitebilliards on June 16, 2005 at 4:25 am

Worked there as an usher during the summers while I was a student at Erasmus, around 1960-61. No one has commented on the mezzanine… don’t know about the ladies room but the men’s room was huge and lavish with dozens (at least) of full-length ivory colored porcelain urinals (sorry, some memories stick).

During that time there were two live appearances I recall… using the stage facilities which still existed from vaudeville days… one was a joint appearance by Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff for some end-of-career grade b stuff (Peter Lorre shook my outstretched hand). The other appearance was by George Raft and I recall was a more elaborate production. He also was a true gentleman and treated everyone with kindness.

Nobody’s mentioned the Loge section… at the very front of the balcony, a separate railed off section, they charged extra for it, as an usher I had to constantly check that people sitting there had actually purchased the more expensive tickets…

I remember the security was a short wiry tough guy named Frank, he wore an authentic looking NYPD uniform but without the insignia… there was a hooker who used to frequent the place and perform her services there… an aged brassy redhead who wore a fake leopard jacket… and Frank, instead of kicking her out would call us over to witness the goings on… Years later when I saw a movie at the theater she was still working the place… we called her “Miss Kenmore”.

We were the first graduating class of Ditmas JHS and our graduation ceremonies were held at the Kenmore. I think they had some musicians in the orchestra pit (in front of the stage/screen).

Also fondly recall Garfield’s Cafeteria across the street… am searching for old photos showing interior or exterior of Garfields, anyone know of any please post a link.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on June 4, 2005 at 1:17 pm

The Kenmore was in a war zone neighborhood that had shootings daily. The lobby was full of bullet holes and audiences talked right through the movie. The acoustics in the upper cinemas were appaling and the images had such severe keystoning that all ending credits looked like the beginning of STAR WARS. The staff could not stop the locals from jumping the candy counter and taking what they wanted so the mention of razor wire in the post above is not an unreasonable move. The exit corridor had barbed wire yet I personally saw a mother with a baby trying to sneak in by climbing over the wire.

In spite of its glorious past, beautiful chandelier, staircase and coal furnace (in the 90s!)the Kenmore’s more recent history involved two employees being shot, riots every time a “Chucky” film opened and a not surprising revolving door of employees. The theatres often sold out at half capacity as customers refused to sit next to strangers.

One 1980’s incident involved a naked hooker on crack running through a crowded screen, a guest of the Local 306 projectionist. This place was a bigger than life nightmare and Loews rightfully shut it down as soon as they took over Cineplex Odeon.

celluloid on April 14, 2005 at 11:17 pm

Last time I ever set foot in the Kenmore was in spring of ‘85 and it was a total piece of shit. This place was so scary to be in I’m surprised it was open for another 14 years. I’m not surprised however about how the NYPD closed this place. When you’ve got a theatre in a “ghetto” neighborhood with animals that don’t know how to behave themselves shooting each other over seats, then it makes total sense to shut the place down for good.

jays on January 16, 2005 at 10:17 pm

Wow it was that bad it’s a wonder how it out lived the Metropolitan, Rugby, and Duffield that had the same element patronizing them as well and partially led to there demise.

AndyT on January 11, 2005 at 3:31 am

There’s a good corporate choice —– razor wire instead of employee presence —– nothing like a cheap roll of razor wire that sets such a great atmosphere —– hmmmm …

dave-bronx™ on January 11, 2005 at 2:06 am

I was told by people who worked there that in the end days of the Kenmore, when the concession stand was closed up for the night they had to put razor-wire on it to prevent it from being looted by the patrons exiting from the last show of the evening.

jays on January 10, 2005 at 8:12 pm

I appreciate it Kenroe I will e-mail you in about 4 weeks

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 10, 2005 at 1:52 am

I will be away for 4 weeks, so e-mail me mid February (e-mail address on my profile) and I will scan the photo for you. That’s if you haven’t already purchased it from THS.

jays on January 9, 2005 at 2:09 pm

Kenroe is there any way that I can see those photos.I mean i’m gonna still contact T.H.s for photos but do you have any that you can share.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 29, 2004 at 8:13 am

The opening date of the Keith’s Theater was 17th September 1928, built as a vaudelville theatre for the B.F. Keith Circuit. It went over to a films only policy in 1932.

On the side walls each side of the proscenium arch were a series of three boxes set within a tall arched opening which was draped similar to the proscenium.

The large painted murals by Willy Pogany were set in tall recesses on the side walls from the front to rear of the balcony, possibly four on each sidewall. On a photo I have, it shows two panels, one in the front balcony section which has an elephant ridden by an Indian Raja, the details on the second one, at cross aisle level unfortunately can’t be made out.

MarcoAcevedo on September 13, 2004 at 8:34 am

Orlando, re. corporations “celebrating” 100 years is such a cynical joke, amen to that. And I can’t believe this theatre had murals by Will Pogany…. up till now, I only knew his work from a single book I own which he illustrated, Padraic Colum’s “The Children of Odin” which is a retelling of Norse myths for “kids”, a book I’ve treasured since my own childhood. The thought that he had murals in a city theatre, in my old borough, and that they are gone makes me nauseous. Oh well… I came upon this page while cross-referencing for theaters designed by Eugene DeRosa, because I’ve just visited his Lafayette Theater in Suffern, NY for a wonderful Sci-Fi Festival. At least that one is cherished by its current owners. It’s still there, and it looks and feels like dream, which takes only some of the sting out of learning of the loss of this one.

Keith’s/Kenmore, R.I.P.